Buddha Purnima | UPSC

Buddha Purnima | UPSC | Why In The news ? 

On the occasion of Buddha Purnima, the Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), held a Virtual Prayer Event.
There was a war of words between India and Nepal over the origin of Gautama Buddha.

  • Buddha Purnima also known as Buddha Jayanti is an auspicious day that marks the birth anniversary of Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.
  • It is believed that this was also the day he attained enlightenment.
  • Buddha Purnima falls on a full moon night, usually between April and May, and it is a gazetted holiday in India.

Buddha Purnima | UPSC

About Buddha Purnima : 

  • Born as Siddhartha Gautama, Buddha was a spiritual leader who is the founder of Buddhism.
  • Lived from 563 B.C. to 483 B.C.  
  • Born in Shakya clan in Lumbini, Kapilvastu, Nepal.  
  • At 29, he abandoned his home and began to live as a homeless ascetic and practiced years of rigorous meditation.  
  • At 49, Siddhartha sat down under a Pipal tree at Bodhgaya (present day Bihar), where he finally attained Nirvana (perfect enlightenment) and came to be known as the Buddha.  
  • After this, Buddha gave his first sermon in Sarnath. 
  • This is called Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta- turning off the wheel of law. The faith of Buddhism was born.  
  • Buddha passed away in 483 BCE at Kushinagara, Uttar Pradesh. 
  • This is termed as Mahaparinibban.

Read Also – Buddhism UPSC | Origin | Teachings | Buddhist Councils | Literature

The Five Precepts  : 

  1. Refrain from taking life. Not killing any living being  
  2. Refrain from taking what is not given. Not stealing from anyone.  
  3. Refrain from the misuse of the senses.  
  4. Refrain from wrong speech.  
  5. Refrain from intoxicants that cloud the mind.


  • Bodhisattva is a person who has Enlightenment, but postpones Nirvana in order to help others to attain Enlightenment.

Five forms that represent Buddha are:

  1. Lotus and Bull – Birth
  2. Horse – Renunciation
  3. Bodhi Tree – Mahabodhi
  4. Dhamma Chakra Pravartana – First sermon
  5. Footprints – Nirvana

Three pillars of his teachings are:

  1. Buddha – Founder/Teacher
  2. Dhamma – Teachings
  3. Sangha – Order of Buddhist Monks and Nuns

Eight-Fold Paths :

  1. Right Vision (Samma-Ditthi)
  2. Right Thought or Attitude (Samma-Sankappa)
  3. Right or Whole Speech (Samma-Vacca
  4. Right or Integral Action (Samma-Kammanta)
  5. Do not tell a lie.
  6. Do not commit violence.
  7. Do not covet the property of others.
  8. Do not indulge in corrupt practices or sensual behaviour.

Buddhist Councils :

1 st Council 

  • Year : 483 BC 
  • Venue : Saptaparni Cave, Rajgir 
  • Chairman :Maha Kassapa 
  • King : Ajatshatru 
  • Key Developments : Sutta & Vinaya Pitaka compiled 

2nd Council 

  • Year : 383 BC 
  • Venue : Vaishali 
  • Chairman : Sabakami 
  • King : Kalasoka 
  • Key Developments : Monks got split into Sthavir madins & Mahasanghikas 

The dispute arose over the ‘Ten Points During 2nd Buddhist Council: 

This is a reference to claims of some monks breaking ten rules, some of which were considered major.

 The specific ten points were:

  1. Storing salt in a horn.
  2. Eating after midday.
  3. Eating once and then going again to a village for alms.
  4. Holding the Uposatha Ceremony with monks dwelling in the same locality.
  5. Carrying out official acts when the assembly was incomplete.
  6. Following a certain practice because it was done by one’s tutor or teacher.
  7. Eating sour milk after one had his midday meal.
  8. Consuming a strong drink before it has been fermented.
  9. Using a rug which was not the proper size.
  10. Using gold and silver.

 The key issue was the use of ‘gold and silver’, which is an Indic idiom that includes any kind of money.

3 rd Council 

  • Year : 250 BC 
  • Venue : Pataliputra 
  • Chairman : Mogalliputta Tissa 
  • King : Ashoka 
  • Key Developments : Abhidhammapitaka compiled 

4 th Council 

  • Year : 72 AD 
  • Venue : Kundalvan, Kashmir 
  • Chairman : Vasumitra & Ashvaghosha 
  • King : Kanishka 
  • Key Developments : Buddhists got split into Hinayana & Mahayana 

Note : The Theravada Buddhist council in 1871 and Theravada Buddhist council in 1954 are known as Fifth and Sixth Buddhist Councils respectively.

Buddhist Literature  

  • Tripitaka or three baskets include the prominent Buddhist scriptures. 
  • Others include Jatakas, Mahavamsa, Bodhi Vamsa. 


  • Vinaya Pitaka : Contains monastic rules of conduct for monks.  
  • Sutta Pitaka : This scripture describes the first Buddhist council.  
  • Abhidhamma Pitaka: It is a detailed scholastic analysis and summary of the Buddha’s teachings. 

Milinda Panha  

  • Milinda Panha means ―Questions of Milinda‖. 
  • It is a dialogue between Indo-Greek king Meander and Buddhist monk Nagasena. 
  • (Written in Pali) 


  • Dipavamsa or ―Chronicle of Island‖ deals with the arrival of Buddha‘s teaching and preachers in Sri Lanka.
  • (Written in Pali) 


  • Deals with the royal dynasties of Indian subcontinent. 
  • The consecration of Asoka and details of Selucus and Alexander have been detailed in it.

Buddha Charita  

  • It is an epic poem on the life of Buddha written in Sanskrit. 
  • It was written by a Buddhist philosopher Ashwaghosha who was a member of King Kanishka’s court.

Source : First Post 

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